05/29/20: The Premier League and NWSL were among the new leagues announcing plans to resume play

 

Medias First Morning Read
Friday May 29, 2020

Soccer received the greenlight to resume play on multiple fronts around the world. Yesterday saw the Premier League announce a return for June 17. Four teams have 10 fixtures remaining, and the remaining 90 games will then kick off on June 19 and no two games played at the same time across a weekend with the League hoping to wrap up by Aug. 1, with the FA Cup Final expected to be played a week later before the remaining Champions League and Europa League fixtures take place later that month. ESPN writes that high-profile fixtures could still be played at neutral venues as a result of concerns over COVID-19 due to fears that crowds could gather outside stadiums as the nationwide lockdown eases.

PROGRAMMING

Stateside, the National Women’s Soccer League announced that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret will mark the return to action for all nine clubs via a 25-game tournament that will kick off on June 27 at Zions Bank Stadium in Utah. No spectators will be in attendance, but fans can catch all the action via CBS All Access with the opener and championship game also airing live on CBS. The league also announced a new multi-year partnership with Verizon. “As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “This exciting month-long tournament will showcase our league’s talented players and provide our fans the type of world-class entertainment they’ve come to expect from the NWSL.”

In ratings news, FOX Sports saw the NASCAR Trucks Race from Charlotte on Tuesday score 778,000 viewers on FS1, up 39% from last year’s Charlotte Trucks race that ran on Friday May 17. 5/17. In addition, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Monday from Charlotte on FS1 delivered 878,000 viewers, up 129% vs last Thursday’s rain-impacted Darlington race. Acting as a pre-race show, NASCAR Race Hub at 6p posted 301,000 viewers, up 135% compared to its Monday average last May.

The John Deere Classic will not be played this year, with the 2020 tournament, scheduled for July 9-12, now set to return to the PGA TOUR schedule in 2021 with its 50th playing. As a result of the decision, the PGA TOUR announced that it will fill the week vacated by the John Deere Classic with a new tournament.

Today marks 25 years since Hall of Fame electee Derek Jeter made his Major League debut for the New York Yankees. To mark the anniversary, MLB Network will air 64 consecutive hours of programming dedicated to Jeter, including 13 signature games, beginning at 6a this morning. MLB Network host Bob Costas will introduce each of the 13 games and offer commentary about the four games he called, including Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Game 5 of the 1996 ALCS, the 2000 MLB All-Star Game at Turner Field, and Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium.

Around the dial, NBA TV will offer the hour-long special Rip City Revival on Sunday at 8p, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Portland Trail Blazers. The special will include interviews with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Buck Williams.

Speaking of the NBA, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced that it will postpone its 2020 enshrinement ceremony until early 2021 as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The event will include the induction of National Basketball Association legends Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant.

Amazon announced that Prime members in Germany and Austria will have access to seven more live broadcasts of Bundesliga matches until end of the season as well as the four relegation matches for first and second Bundesliga. “We are happy to announce that we will broadcast more Bundesliga matches on Prime Video following the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve seen,” says Alex Green, MD Prime Video Sports Europe. “Customers have loved the video quality and the focus on the action, so we’re delighted to continue our Bundesliga broadcasting with seven more matches and key relegation matches, once again all available to stream at no additional cost to a Prime membership. This is widening the access to watch top-flight Bundesliga across the country.”

Ahead of the newly-launched PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, the league unveiled rosters and competition schedules for the six teams set to compete in Division A of the new tournament. The PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge will feature 48 of the world’s top professional bull riders split into 12 teams and two divisions, facing off throughout June at the Pendleton Whisky Let ‘Er Buck Saloon at South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada until two teams remain to compete for the championship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in front of a live arena crowd.

The Cynopsis Adtech Awards
Final Deadline: June 10
During a time when in-person events have been cancelled, the adtech community is stepping up. They’re helping to guarantee marketers upfront inventory and preserve revenue for media owners by using breakthrough approaches and solutions. Adtech providers are a group that lives on the cutting edge of innovation, which is why we are celebrating their platforms, campaigns, and strategies.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The Cheez-It Bowl is moving from Arizona to Orlando
with the brand signing on as the primary sponsor for what was once the Camping World Bowl. “Cheez-it is a go-to snacking tradition for football fans and cheese-lovers – especially those who can’t get enough of that uniquely cheesy and crunchy experience,” said Cheez-It senior director of marketing Jeff Delonis. “Our preceding bowl game sponsorship with the Fiesta Bowl Organization helped solidify Cheez-It as a staple in the college football postseason.”

The Lagardère Sports and Entertainment agency is hitting the reset button and will becme known as Sportfive in a company rebrand. The move comes following the takeover by H.I.G. Europe.

Ready Nutrition announced that professional basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo made his first brand investment into the company, giving him an ownership stake and creative input at multiple levels of the company’s business, along with an exclusive endorsement and community role with the brand’s Ready Water and other sports nutrition products. He joins Founder and President, Pat Cavanaugh and professional football star Aaron Donald as a co-owner.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Electronic Arts, the NFL and the NFL Players Association inked a multi-year renewal to their partnership, marking the biggest and widest-reaching gaming agreement in NFL history. Under the partnership, the EA SPORTS Madden NFL franchise will exclusively create authentic football simulation games, and EA SPORTS, the NFL and the NFLPA will partner to develop games in new genres, expanded esports programs, and additional experiences for fans across more platforms. The announcement states that esports will see increased competitive programs and broadcast content to reach and entertain more fans. “Building on the most successful year ever for Madden NFL, this is a powerful time for EA SPORTS to come together with the NFL and the NFLPA in this new wide-reaching partnership,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to entertain more players through new Madden NFL experiences, games in new genres and on new platforms, esports, and new innovations that will grow fans’ love of the NFL around the world.”

DraftKings Sportsbook announced it will offer live-streamed sports games within its award-winning mobile app, teaming with Sportradar. DraftKings Sportsbook customers who are logged in to their active accounts and have a wallet balance above $0.00 will have the ability to live stream games directly within the mobile app.

New data from Magid shows that 89% of sports viewers will watch live sports on TV if games take place without fans in the stands. The study noted that presentations must deliver extra value, with most viewers wanting entertaining live announcers in the broadcast, at 57% among MVPD users and 59% among vMVPD users.

Famer, the sports coaching and mentorship mobile platform, announced a landmark partnership with the National Basketball Players Association to allow professional players and elite trainers and coaches to create and share custom personal training videos and communicate with kids and their parents for free. Hosted on the NBPA Training Ground channel on Famer, the custom videos will feature drills and skill training as well as strength and conditioning workouts. The NBPA Training Ground will be presented by Spalding, and its initial launch will feature videos and training with NBPA members including Aaron Gordon, Andre Drummond and others as well as with NBA-level trainers such as Chris Matthews and Tim and Ross Burns.

Strat-O-Matic announced it will assist Marquee Sports Network, the broadcast home of the Chicago Cubs, in creating content for a series of Cubs-specific shows for 2020. The shows will use the data and simulations from iconic Cubs games of the past to re-imagine what an alternate result would have been, and Strat-O-Matic will also contribute to other projects designed to engage fans interest and debate. The first in a series of content in the partnership will be the Ultimate Cubs Lineup.

ESPORTS

Twitch Rivals will serve up the first major Valorant tournament on June 2, which will be the day that the Riot game will be formally released to the public. Riot Games and Twitch will collaborate on the event with confirmed regions that will encompass North America, Brazil, LATAM, Europe, Korea and Japan.

DreamHack is buddying up with audio solutions brand DTS for a new partnership focused on DreamHack’s CS:GO tournaments DreamHack Masters and DreamHack Open. The partnership, which began during DreamHack Anaheim in February 2020, will run through the rest of the year, including the upcoming DreamHack Atlanta and DreamHack Winter festivals.

Online optical company Zenni locked in a partnership with the Nets Gaming Crew of the NBA 2K League. Zenni will provide athletes with its Blokz technology, which reduces eye strain by blocking blue light emitted by digital screens. Additionally, NetsGC general manager and coach Ivan Curtiss, will be teaming up with Zenni to host the “The #OG2CENTS Podcast.”

Pringles signed on as an official partner all ESL National Championship tournaments in Germany and Poland. “Over the years, the community feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Therefore, we are happy to continue our successful partnership with Pringles, spanning over multiple tournaments in 2020. We are proud that Pringles is expanding their partnership with us in these difficult times.”, says Stephan Schröder, SVP Global Brand Partnerships EMEA at ESL.

Scuf Gaming was named the official controller sponsor of Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Wizard District Gaming and Caps Gaming. The brand also revealed two custom PlayStation 4 controllers, each bearing patterns in red, white, and blue colors and the logo of the two teams.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam

Costas is still quite active. If the baseball season ever begins, he’ll be doing games for MLB Network. In the interim, he’s voicing cut-ins for a 64-hour special on Derek Jeter this weekend. The longtime face of NBC Sports will then host a special for the network on great baseball voices. Bob told me this week that with the help of his wife Jill, a former television stage manager, and the use of resources shipped to him by MLBN, he was able to record 17 Jeter segments from the comfort of his home using a visual backdrop, made up of a montage of fitting photos.

There’s a silver lining to this pandemic. Lots can be done efficiently outside the studio. We’ll see what alternative means used during this health crisis will stick permanently once it’s behind us.

Halby’s Morsels: Best calls last 50 years; MLB Net keeps busy; Tales from the trenches; Hannah Storm

Writers turn broadcasters

Television and radio’s need for edgy personalities produced a windfall for newspaper men and women looking for greener pastures and larger paychecks. The top five are all ESPNers, Stephen A. Smith, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Dan LeBatard and Paul Finebaum. See the top dozen:
Writers turned broadcasters: The top dozen nationally who’ve made their presence felt on-air and in print

Syracuse is considered the Harvard or Yale for sports broadcasters. Think Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Dick Stockton or Sean McDonough. But, yes, there are biggies who attended schools other than Syracuse like Al Michaels, Joe Buck, Brent Musburger. It’s a long list:
Didn’t go to Syracuse? Over 150 sports voices went to colleges elsewhere and did just fine too

Happy Birthdays and many happy returns to these sports announcers:

P.J. Carlesimo , May 30 ESPN, Westwood One-basketball analyst
Dave Flemming, May 31 ESPN, SF Giants
Bill Schonley, June 1 Longtime, former voice-Trailblazers
Gary Gerould, June 1 Four-decade radio voice, Sacramento Kings
Steve Raible, June 2 Voice of Seattle Seahawks
Dan Hicks, June 2 NBC and Golf Channel
Heather Cox, June 3 NBC and NFL Network
Sports Broadcast Journal – home page

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On this Day
1922: US Supreme Court rules that baseball is not subject to antitrust laws.

In the Know
How many stages are there in the Tour de France? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What was Roy Halladay’s given first name? Answer: Harry. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Russ DelCore-a4 media/Oakland; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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